Friday, March 22, 2013

RootsTech Day 2 - Morning Keynotes

There were two keynote speakers at RootsTech 2013 this morning, and I hope that you saw both of them on the Livestreaming. If you didn't here are the highlights:

1)  Jyl Pattee - the MomItForward blogger/story expert gave an energizing talk on WOW moments - saying that "Life is measured by the moments that take your breath away, rather than the breaths you take."

She had a recipe for creating WOW moments, and showed pictures and videos to demonstrate them:

*  Create the WOW - set a goal, and do it.  Her example was visiting all 50 states and she had photos from all of them.
*  Capture the WOW - use audio, video, photos, words - whatever you can use to record a family story.  Her example was her audio interview with her grandmother with photos in the background.
*  Archive the WOW - save it.  Her example was using blog-to-book services, or Instagram-to-book services.
*  Share the WOW - with your family, friends, on social media, etc.  Blogs, books, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Jyl noted that it's never too late to create WOW moments.  She and her cousins had her grandmother's banana cookie recipe (they grew up loving them!) and spent a morning baking, and made a video of it.  Looked yummy!

2)  Tim Sullivan, the CEO of, was the second Keynoter.  He noted that it is a challenge for Ancestry to create content that helps beginners and experts alike.  Collaboration is the key.  One example was Crista Cowan, a professional who works at Ancestry, was contacted by someone who had a common ancestor with Crista, and thought that Crista's information in her tree was incorrect.  And it was...and Crista learned about the value of collaboration.

Tim provided two examples of how Ancestry fosters collaboration - the shaky leaf that leads to a record, tree, photo or story; the interaction between subscribers who share information via messages.

Ancestry has 45 million trees online, with over 4 billion people in them.  Tim noted that they are not all 100% accurate!!  Who knew?  But they are still valuable as sources for discovery.  Subscribers have attached 174 million photos and attached 2 billion records to the Member trees. has over 2.7 million subscribers across all of their sites (Ancestry, Fold3, Archives, Newspapers, Genealogy, etc.).  They have two major goals - to digitize and index new content, and to make the website as user friendly as possible.  Tim noted that they have 1,200 employees, with over 200 of them with more than 5 years at; and about 400 employees have joined in the past year.

Tim made several announcements:

*  There will be an updated iOS application with additional features
*  One third of new registrants come from the mobile applications, and indicate younger generations are interested in family history.
*  The AncestryDNA service has 120,000 persons now, and there have been 2 million 4th generation connections made.
*  The AncestryDNA autosomal test will cost $99 for subscribers and non-subscribers alike.
*  Ancestry has committed to spending $100 million over the next five years on acquiring, digitizing and indexing new record collections.
*  Ancestry will collaborate with FamilySearch to digitize and index 140 million pages of U.S. probate records (early to 1930) in a three year project.

Stay tuned for more news from RootsTech 2013.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Mariann Regan said...

Thanks for this summary, Randy! Very informative and helpful.